I Want A Church In Which I Can Feel Influential (not about me)

In a follow up to yesterday’s plaint about the plight of Reformed Protestantism comes a jumble of comments about what people are looking for in a church. One of the problems that Reformed Protestants face is that their provisions are so meager, more cheeze-wiz than brie. Paul did seem to be on to this in his first epistle to those saints in Corinth who wanted a glorious church. Preaching is folly, both its content and form. And these days, the ministry of the Word cannot sustain the show that would-be ministries can. “You preach the Bible and your services are full of Scripture?” “Great, but what about Trayvon Martin and the Muslim Brotherhood?” “You don’t get out much, do you?”

So what will millennials who think biblical instruction so 1990s find if they follow Rachel Held Evans?

What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.

We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.

We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.

We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.

We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.

We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.

Well, she could find some of this in a confessional Reformed church minus the bits on sex and welfare, but I’m not holding my breath that Ms. Evans will be joining even the PCA soon.

Jake Meador, whom I assume to be a millennial, thinks Evans is bluffing (or worse):

It’s true that the younger evangelicals doing their Chicken Little routine are completely ignoring what happened to the last generation to insist that “Christianity must change or die.” But the far more amusing thing is not the historical ignorance on display in such comments, but the ecclesiastical arrogance of such declarations. Hearing it, one can’t help being reminded of the late George Carlin’s rant about environmentalists intent on “saving the planet”:

The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles…hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages…And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference?

Meanwhile, Anthony Bradley calls Evans bluff and ask why she doesn’t find the United Methodist Church to be the communion millennials are looking for:

The UMC is outside of the culture wars. It has no conflicts with science and faith and clearly teaches what they are for instead of against. The UMC is a place where LGBT friends are welcomed. Moreover, if anyone knows anything about Wesleyanism, you know that Methodists have a deep emphasis on personal holiness and social action. Again, the Jesus that Evans wants to find is waiting for her and her followers in the UMC.

Again, herein lies the core question: Why doesn’t Evans, and others who embrace her critique of “the church,” simply encourage Millennials, who do not believe Jesus “is found” in their churches, to join churches like the UMC? If someone is passionate about Jesus and is truly looking for him, but doesn’t find him in one church, wouldn’t it stand to reason that a genuine search would lead that person to another church where it is believed Jesus actually is? It makes me wonder if the Evans critique is not about something else.

One reason Evans may not join the UMC is that she might find there another version of the culture wars, one that goes on under the old name, Social Gospel. Here, for instance, is a description of the United Church of Christ’s General Synod (John Winthrop and John Williamson Nevin are turning in their graves, though in opposite rotations):

Earnest discussion and debate focused on the status of women in society, tax reform, immigration reform, financial support for seminary students (backed up with a synod offering), mountaintop removal coal mining, racism, discrimination, and denominational restructure. An outdoor rally in celebration of the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA affirmed the church’s position on gay marriage. Delegates and speakers lamented the ruling on voting rights.

Deep commitment to advocacy and justice matters was and is inspiring. I hope for critical thinking about gospel justice and advocacy at any RCA General Synod. In Long Beach, as discussions wound up and down, I marveled at the impassioned advocacy. Yet, my RCA yen for a solid biblical foundation kicked in. Sometimes I yearned to hear a word of scripture or more of the theological premise behind a passionate speech.

Worries about the Social Gospel even exist among Protestant converts to Rome, where the Social Teaching of the Church has become one of the top items on the list indicating the Vatican’s superiority and which Francis appears to be stretching in ways that call upon various and sundry lay Roman Catholics to explain what the Holy Father is up to. Here is one worried priest:

The social gospel is a heresy, and like every heresy, it is not completely wrong. It is only half right. We are supposed to feed the hungry, house the homeless, heal the sick and work for justice and peace, but this is the fruit of our faith in Christ. It is the result of our redemption, not the primary point of our faith. The first objective is the salvation of our souls, and from this faith in Christ we are transformed into his likeness, and as we are transformed into his likeness we begin to do his work in the world. If we jump straight to the good works, then we are guilty of the old heresy of Pelagianism: trying to be good enough under our own steam.

The reason I say this is a problem for the new pope is not because I think he teaches the social gospel, but because it will be perceived and promoted that he does. I am convinced (despite the worries of some of my friends) that Pope Francis is God’s man for the church today. I’m convinced that he is fully orthodox, and that he will not compromise the Catholic faith at all, but instead will build up Christ’s church and be a wonderful global evangelist.

What concerns me is that the man and his message will be hi jacked by the worldly powers who would love nothing more than to emasculate the message of Jesus Christ and reduce the whole of the Catholic faith to an nice system of inspiring people to be nicer to one another. The stupid worldly powers try to persecute and obliterate the church. The really smart ones embrace the church and use it for their own ends. Henry VIII, for example, was one of the smart ones. He did not seek to abolish the Catholic Church. He simply stole it and turned it into an instrument of English nationalism and a force for consolidating his power over the English people.

Likewise the really smart worldly powers of today would like nothing better than to co-opt the Catholic Church into a one world system of bringing about peace, justice and niceness for all. If the Christian gospel can be reduced to a message of good will and kindliness, and if the Christian religion can be reduced to a network of soup kitchens and homeless hostels, the worldly powers will be happy.

We have seen the capitulation of most Christian groups in the developed world to this agenda already. The mainstream liberal Protestant denominations adopted the social gospel long ago, and are now not much more than a group of peace and justice campaigners who meet on Sunday for strategy sessions. The hip Evangelicals have gone a different, but similar route. Increasingly their message is one of self help, success strategies, rehab therapies, good parenting and how to manage your money. The cross of Christ and the need for repentance and redemption is quietly downplayed, diluted and discarded.

Pope Francis’ admirable emphasis on simplicity, ministry to the poor and justice for the marginalized will play into this tendency in our modern world. That’s why he is, at least at present, such a media darling. The mainstream media will play up his social gospel appearance and quietly ignore everything he says about true Catholicism. They will ignore any call for repentance and the need for forgiveness. They will ignore the cross where Christ the Lord was sacrificed for the sins of mankind. They will ignore everything he says about the Mass, the communion of the saints, the reality of heaven and hell and the need for the salvation of souls.

Meanwhile, for millenials thinking that the High Church traditions may hold the solution, consider this (thanks to Jeff Polet). Maybe I should say no thanks since not even the feline factor can redeem such blasphemy.

All of this makes me very thankful (all about me) for a local church where the pastor proclaims the word and administers the Supper every Sunday. It’s not very flashy. Then again, neither was manna in the wilderness.

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194 Comments

  1. Posted August 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    A woman with three names immediately puts me on the defensive.

    It must spring from my time at Northwestern when I held the door for a female English Prof and she rebuked me for it. Meanwhile I go to church with folks whose daughters live with them until (arranged) marriage.

    No one said this Christianity stuff was easy.

  2. Posted August 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that post could have been broken up into about five separate ones. Lots of good links.

    Was that priest Father J. Gresham Machen? Preach it, brother.

  3. kent
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Erik, the rule of thumb in any social setting with “busy people” is to not bother holding open doors or elevators to the extent that the rat race is going to be impeded for 2 seconds.

    If I kindly wait for an able-bodied person for more than a few seconds, it introduces a relationship between us, they feel the obligation to hurry up and then say thank you. And yes, it is a waste of time in the midst of the rat race.

    I knew several tactless Lotharios who would use the opening of a door and that kind of moment to proposition any woman unfortunate enough to have had this jerk 5 seconds ahead of her.

  4. George
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    If she doesn’t like the UMC’s agenda maybe she could try the ELCA. Consider this from their SE Synod:

    http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs112/1102135370992/archive/1114168399110.html

    Scrolling down, you come to one area called Creation Justice (huh?), sub-headed by Eco-justice.

    “Eco-justice”???? You just can’t make this stuff up!

  5. Geore
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Erik – worse yet, her middle name sounds like a verb lending an implied meaning to the entire series that looks somewhat dubious.

  6. kent
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Men only get the 3 name treatment when the news tells us about a serial killer or assassin, kind of weeds out false identifications of normal people who will want to legally change their name that day.

  7. sdb
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Evangelical millenial critics of the evangelical world wouldn’t sell many books if they admitted they are really just warmed over wesleyans. I mean how many mainline critics of evangelicalism get book deals with tommy nelson? The evangelical patina keeps the speaking engagements comin’.

    As far as the specific questions coming from RHE, shouldn’t the yearning to ask questions without predetermined answers come with the ability to ask novel questions? And doesn’t this in turn presuppose something more than the ability to cite factoids from a wiki? This isn’t just an evangelical thing. Teaching astronomy to freshman gen-ed students the last couple of semesters revealed a remarkable relationship between confidence in ones opinion and ignorance. As if someone is really hoing to turnover the foundations of cosmology based on a Youtube clip of part of a nova episode…ugh…

  8. Posted August 3, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Kent – Men only get the 3 name treatment when the news tells us about a serial killer or assassin

    Erik – You forget all the metrosexual men who take their wife’s name and hyphenate by choice (although it is often just the kids who do that). Husband keeps his name, wife keeps hers, kids hyphenate. How this will work when the kids get married remains to be seen. Will people be walking around with four last names, the next generation with eight, the following generation with sixteen…

  9. Posted August 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I had Stanley Carlson-Thies as a prof back in 1990 or so. I never did ask where his hyphen came from. Nice guy.

    http://video.pbs.org/video/1504825895/

  10. Mark
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink
  11. Jed Paschall
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Erik,

    My sincere hope is that the hyphenated kiddos will rebel and dispense with last names altogether. Immagine a generation of androgonous names: Kris, Leslie, Tristian, Skylar and so on who ooze with so much self-importance that they not only eschew last names, but blow off their parents neo-liberal leanings and opt for a hipster version of paleo-conservativism that turns them into tubby middle-aged, middle class naysayer grouches. Kind of how Alex P. Keaton rebelled against his hippie parents by becoming a Republican honk.

  12. Posted August 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    New marketing pitch to honest millennials:

    “Yeah the church sucks, but so do you.”

  13. Posted August 3, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of eschewing last names, let’s get Hart to start dressing like that hip, new college president, get a cool hairstyle, and start going purely by “Darryl”. Millennials will eat it up.

  14. mark mcculley
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    The best response to Evans I have read so far was over at Mockingbird. It reminds of what Machen said about “rest”. What Evans wants is more law, and her critics want different law. That’s the reason NT Wright wants to talk about ecclesiology and “justification” by water baptism.

    http://www.mbird.com/2013/08/another-week-ends-millennial-churchmice-papal-forgetfulness-meaningful-happiness-postpartem-mirrors-teaser-culture-michael-vick-anthony-weiner-and-tv-on-the-radio/

    “Evans believes the real problem is the What, not the How. Fair enough–the substance of much of what passes for Christianity these days does need some rethinking–but the suggestions she lists are, to these ears at least, nothing more or less than a recalibration of law . Meaning, it’s the same old boss–just with a new easy-pour mug. Brett McCracken, in a thoughtful response over at The Washington Post, points out the consumerist bias implicit in Evans’ diagnosis , but I’m not so sure his conclusions are all that different. Meaning, the transformative vision of faith he endorses may be less convenient, but it’s still premised on a result rather than a message. Grace and rest and absolution–with no new strings or projects or anxieties attached–now that would be a change in substance.”

  15. J-hipsterest Pascal
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Erik,

    Oooh, the Darryl with a carefully disheveled faux-hawk, and ironic spectacles. Yup, it’d get some big time run in Grand Rapids, and maybe even NYC if he could go bald in the most ironic (professorial) fashion.

    … more substantive comments forthcoming, in the next 1-40 days.

  16. mark mcculley
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Paul Zahl’s Grace in Practice: A Theology for Everyday Life— I am simply saying that ‘ecclesiology’ is unimportant to me. It is low on my list of theological values (225).

    “To have no ecclesiology is to have an ecclesiology” . That is, thinking little of the church is still a view of the church. Such a view, though, stands in sharp contrast to the proliferation of conferences now focusing on the church’s mission, what the church isn’t doing, what it has got to do, and especially, on discerning the church’s missional strategy in a post-Christendom culture. Having no ecclesiology allows the everyday Christian to focus instead on what ought to capture his or her attention, namely, the grace of God in Jesus Christ. In a theology of everyday life our focus turns to the head of the church and away from “a grim ersatz thing carrying the image of Christ but projected onto human nature and therefore intrinsically self-deceived”

    What Zahl does embrace is what he calls an “ecclesiology of suspicion” (228). This ecclesiology rejects the idea of the church as “original sin-free zone” and limits the church’s authority. For Zahl, “A systematic theology of grace is, in respect to church, irreducibly Protestant” (228). No ecclesial form holds ultimate authority. It is Christ who is over the church and the Spirit who moves it. Church is at best the caboose to grace. It is its tail. Ecclesiology, on the other hand, makes church into the engine (228). The church stands with the world under the law and ever in need of grace,.

    http://derevth.blogspot.com/2013/07/paul-zahls-unecclesiology.html

    mark: “Church happens”. Not even close to an anabaptist ideal of disciplined ecclesia. But tempting when in despair. I think of Nietzsche’s Lutheran friend Franz Overbeck., But in the end it’s a tad too close to Harold Camping’s idea that we are ‘already in Satan’s little season.”

  17. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 3, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    We want an end to the culture wars. We want a truce between science and faith. We want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.

    We want to ask questions that don’t have predetermined answers.

    We want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.

    We want our LGBT friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.

    We want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers.

    Barney the Christosaur, or charitably, Beatitudism.

    This also covers it

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moralistic_therapeutic_deism

    Mostly, it’s like the old saw about reformed Judaism–its messiah looks a lot like FDR, and it’s pretty much the same thing as the Democratic Party except for the holidays.

  18. Zrim
    Posted August 4, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    TVD, but I’m thinking of your complaint that old lifers reserve criticism of social gospel for the rightists. Perhaps you can pick up here that the point is that it’s an equal opportunity affliction.

    But when I read someone like Evans, the familial analogies roll. She comes off as a demanding adolescent (we want) who doesn’t quite understand that living with other people not exactly you has its challenges. Sometimes you have to hold your nose when you affiliate. For example, like Darryl, I’m thankful for the regular and orthodox administration of Word and sacrament, but today I’ll have to walk past a Right-to-Life petition to get to it. More baptized culture war. Is the response to broadcast a demand for perfection, or a private but concerned note to one’s elder?

  19. Posted August 4, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    The local Methodist ministers are becoming best known for opposing new casinos. Nice ladies.

  20. Posted August 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    James Bratt has a new biography of Kuyper out:

    http://heidelblog.net/2013/08/everyone-is-subject-to-the-qire/

  21. Posted August 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    R. Scott Clark – “That even Kuyper was subject to this temptation reminds us that the QIRE is so pervasive, so seductive, so widespread, that anyone can become enthralled by it..”

    Erik – If Hart replaces Isabelle with a dog we need to keep a very close eye on him.

  22. Chortles Weakley
    Posted August 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Tom, sounds strikingly like TKNY to me.

  23. Posted August 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Erik, if a dog comes in after Belle, it will be another instance of husbands submitting to wives in the peace of Bryan Cross.

  24. Zrim
    Posted August 4, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    That’s exactly what the Toyota coming in after the Honda was. Worm boy strikes again.

  25. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Zrim
    Posted August 4, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink
    TVD, but I’m thinking of your complaint that old lifers reserve criticism of social gospel for the rightists. Perhaps you can pick up here that the point is that it’s an equal opportunity affliction.

    But when I read someone like Evans, the familial analogies roll. She comes off as a demanding adolescent (we want) who doesn’t quite understand that living with other people not exactly you has its challenges. Sometimes you have to hold your nose when you affiliate. For example, like Darryl, I’m thankful for the regular and orthodox administration of Word and sacrament, but today I’ll have to walk past a Right-to-Life petition to get to it.

    Yeah, well, you see theological purity as holy and pleasing to the Lord, I see Lk 10 31-32. Walk on by. So if the next guy in the story is some sort of “worm boy,” whatever that is, then so be it, brother.

  26. Zrim
    Posted August 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    TVD, what you have is moralistic deism. How is that any different from Evans’ Beatitudism? Hint: that parable isn’t about helping people in obvious need. Nobody needs the Bible to know that.

    http://confessionalouthouse.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/the-good-samaritan-and-two-kingdoms/

  27. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 4, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    That’s an interesting interpretation of the Bible. The Gospel According to St. Bastard.

  28. Posted August 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m at the point in Van Drunen’s “Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms – A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought” where he is moving into the modern (and American) contexts. I just started chapter 6, “Theocratic New England, Disestablished Virginia, and the Spirituality of the Church”. From there he goes on to chapters on Kuyper, Barth, Dooyeweerd & North American Neo-Calvinism, and Van Til & The Van Tillians. This is a really interesting book by a first class scholar.

    At the beginning of chapter 6 he makes reference to another work that looks quite interesting: “A Kingdom Not of this World: Stuart Robinson’s Struggle to Distinguish the Sacred from the Secular During the Civil War” by Preston D. Graham.

    http://www.amazon.com/KINGDOM-NOT-OF-THIS-WORLD/dp/0865547572/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375671534&sr=8-1&keywords=a+kingdom+not+of+this+world

  29. Posted August 4, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Tom & Zrim are both right about the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It can be read as both law and gospel. The problem with reading it as law only is you had better be stopping for every wounded traveler if you seek to be justified by your own goodness. Perfect, perpetual obedience is required to appease the wrath of a holy God. Either yours or that of another.

  30. Posted August 5, 2013 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    2 hour finale to season 3 of “The Killing” …… Pitiful.

    Doug,

    Have you read him?

  31. Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    If people are going to discredit Van Drunen, chapter 5 of NL2K is where he is most vulnerable. This is the point where he has to deal with what Reformed thinkers DID under Christendom vs. what they THEORIZED. I think he deals with it pretty well, though.

    Getting into the American context is fascinating because for the first time Reformed people lived in a world where freedom of religion was truly possible. It was a tabula rasa of sorts, separated from Old Europe by an ocean.

  32. Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Van Drunen’s academic credentials:

    EDUCATION
    B.A., Calvin College;
    M.Div., Westminster Seminary California;
    Th.M., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School;
    J.D., Northwestern University School of Law;
    Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago

    Doug, this must make you a feather duster.

  33. Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    Erik, all the education in the world, doesn’t make one right, especially on matters of the word of God. I can show you men with greater credentials that take the opposite view. Heck, there are men with greater credentials that aren’t even true believers.

    So, how do we know were right? That takes careful study, and the fruit of the Spirit. There is a reason, the reformed community is SO upset with VanDrunen. And yes, I have read him and found him wanting. This doesn’t mean I don’t consider him a brother in Christ. Just a lousy theologian with a capital L.

    Erik says: “If people are going to discredit Van Drunen, chapter 5 of NL2K is where he is most vulnerable. This is the point where he has to deal with what Reformed thinkers DID under Christendom vs. what they THEORIZED.”

    Me: Amen, and amen! Erik, I have been pointing our the weakness for years! VanDrunen would have us believe that our Confession is different in theory, than the laws the reformers actually implemented. Which is patently absurd, imho.

    It’s just like Zrim saying that the WCF 19.4 contradicts the laws that they passed. How lame is that? It’s becoming obvious to me, that this whole R2K experiment is just a weak attempt to respond to Bahnen’s theonomy.

    To no avail, of course. To date, there hasn’t been a coherent reply from the reformed camp to theonomy. It’s like I said, all Christians are theonomic, even if they don’t know it yet.

  34. Darren
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    Fascinating. Doug has redefined the Reformed community as They-Who-Are-SO-Upset-With-VanDrunen, and redefined Christians as theonomists.

    That means an awful lot of OPC and PCA folk are apparently not in the Reformed community, and virtually no one, except for a lunatic fringe, are Christian.

    And does this mean that VanDrunen is neither reformed, nor Christian, even though Doug still considers him a brother in Christ.

    Is that the sound of someone’s reality bubble collapsing under the weight of its own conceit?

  35. Posted August 5, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Doug – And yes, I have read him and found him wanting.

    Erik – What have you read?

    You presume you have “the fruit of the spirit” and those who disagree with you do not? When you insult people is that the fruit of the spirit?

    Doug – Amen, and amen! Erik, I have been pointing our the weakness for years!

    Erik – Without having read the book?

    Doug – VanDrunen would have us believe that our Confession is different in theory, than the laws the reformers actually implemented. Which is patently absurd, imho.

    Erik – Constantinianism and Christendom screwed up a lot of things. Have you ever heard of the Roman Catholic Church?

    Doug – this whole R2K experiment is just a weak attempt to respond to Bahnen’s theonomy.

    Erik – Don’t flatter yourself. Kuyper, Barth, Dooyeweerd, and Neocalvinists wanted (or want) nothing to do with “Bahnsen’s theonomy.”

    Doug – To date, there hasn’t been a coherent reply from the reformed camp to theonomy.

    Erik – Except for Van Drunen’s 500 page book, and Hart’s, and Graham’s, and…

    It’s wonderful to have the old delusional Doug back, though.

  36. Posted August 5, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Three-name-woman sez”

    Invariably, after I’ve finished my presentation and opened the floor to questions, a pastor raises his hand and says, “So what you’re saying is we need hipper worship bands. …”

    And I proceed to bang my head against the podium.

    Fantastic!

  37. sean
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Rube, nothing quite like having to apologize for the ‘worship pastor’ to every congregant in the church.

    Me:”I’m so sorry, yeah I know, he means well.”

    Congregant/Visitor: “We don’t come to a reformed church to hear really poor versions of circa ’80 maranatha music”

    Me:’I’m really really sorry. We are trying to reign him in’

    Congregant/Visitor: “what is a worship pastor?”

    Me: “I’m terribly sorry, we don’t know”

    Congregant/Visitor: “Who thinks people come to a PCA to hear evangelicalism done poorly?”

    Me: “We don’t know, would you like some coffee or a muffin?”

    Congregant/Visitor: “Why do you run a screen projector during service and why do you put the lyrics on it, when you have a hymnal? And why don’t the words and tune agree with the music and words in the hymnal?”

    Me: “Sunday school is pretty good”

  38. Posted August 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Erik, how about practicing what you preach? Have you read “Theonomy In Christian Ethics”? No? I even sent you a copy! Yet, you continue to speak about what you do not know.

    Has DGH read “Theonomy In Christian Ethics”? No?! Why not?

    You see brother, it’s you and Darryl that need to get up to speed.

    Erik says:– Don’t flatter yourself. Kuyper, Barth, Dooyeweerd, and Neocalvinists wanted (or want) nothing to do with “Bahnsen’s theonomy.”

    Me: Once again Erik, Kuyper, Barth, and Dooyweerd were long dead before Bahnsen wrote TICE; while Neoclavinists are much closer to theonomy than they are to R2K.

    Either way you look at it, you lose.

  39. Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Sean,

    I don’t think this is what is intended when we refer to “Christian Apologetics”…

  40. Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Doug,

    So Kuyper, Barth, and Dooyeweerd would have been theonomists if only they had had the chance to read Bahnsen?

    Why do we need to read Bahnsen when we have you? Aren’t you his disciple?

    Van Drunen deals with how to read the Mosaic law in light of Natural Law in Chapter 5, and cites all of the Reformed thinkers who approached it that way. We don’t need Bahnsen to figure it out for us.

  41. Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Sean,

    How do you apologize for extreme pietism in your church?

  42. Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Erik, the problem with DVD pontificating on NL, is that both NL and God’s law are precisely the same law! They are both one and the same, ethically! God does not have one standard called his law, and another standard called NL. So what DVD is forced to do, is make up a new definition for NL. based on a new ethic. Don’t let him get away with it Erik. Throw a penalty flag for incoherence.

    Once you grasp that truth, a light will hopefully blink on!

  43. Chortles Weakly
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Sean, I’m feeling guilty that my PCA congregation worships so well and you have to endure that. Obviously some sort of well-earned penance on your part.

  44. Chortles Weakly
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    If only we could lose the Welch’s.

  45. Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Hey Chortles; I’m with you on the Welch’s grape juice nonsense. It’s even infected the OPC! Can anyone else besides me, see how the “Politically Correct” movement has transformed the reformed church? We can’t even take communion like the Lord Jesus instructed us!! Why, were we to actually offer wine, an alcoholic might fall off the wagon, no?

    May God forgive us for listening to them, rather than Him……….

  46. sean
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    C-Dubs, Darryl assures me, per Calvin, it’s to keep me humble(good luck with that). The preaching is generally solid. Like all preachers and people, he has his better days than others but he knows what’s what and we have the Lord’s supper regularly. It’s a shame you have to overcome the music to be able to worship. I even tried going to one of his gigs to show my support for his music OUTSIDE the 1 hour on sunday. No dice, he took it as encouragement for what he was doing in church. I may go with the cage match next.

  47. Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Doug,

    “God’s Law” is broader than natural law. There is ceremonial law, moral law. political law. Natural law may correspond to part of that, but not all of it. We also have differing times and places that need to be taken into consideration. A wise (not even necessarily Christian) leader can use prudence in applying natural law to his own time and place.

  48. Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Sean,

    You need to convince a majority of the Session. Their job is to rein the pastor in. I ran this notion by a Pentecostal preacher once and he was shocked.

  49. Posted August 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Sean,

    Try the argument that since worship is not optional people have to be there. While they are there they shouldn’t have their conscience bound by anything that is potentially offensive and not explicitly biblical. Rock and pop music is not explicitly biblical, therefore it should not be used in worship. If he responds with, “then maybe we shouldn’t use any instruments”, say, “o.k. That’s fine with me”.

  50. sean
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Erik, you’re correct and we’ve had those ‘sessions’ at session. Regardless of how brilliant I know myself to be, I can’t seem to convince everyone all the time. It completely baffles me, and I’m generally careful to not leave anyone standing before I’m done. They stand up anyway. Reform is an exercise in patience, prayer, discernment and charity. I’ll be faithful and choose my moments.

  51. Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Erik, no musical genre is explicitly mentioned in Scripture, so it seems your whole argument falls apart at its core. The bible does say we are to both raise, and clap our hands to God. Does your church clap and raise there hands to the LORD?

    If not, why not? It’s explicitly commanded in the Psalms.

    FWIW, my OPC has members that raise their hands in worship, does yours?

  52. Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Doug, I read enough of Theonomy in Christian Ethics to get the drift. It didn’t explain, though, people like you.

  53. Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Doug, isn’t a raised hand an indication that someone doesn’t understand the sermon? That’s a good thing?

  54. mark mcculley
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Erik: Try the argument that since worship is not optional people have to be there. While they are there they shouldn’t have their conscience bound by anything that is potentially offensive and not explicitly biblical. Rock and pop music is not explicitly biblical, therefore it should not be used in worship. If he responds with, “then maybe we shouldn’t use any instruments”, say, “o.k. That’s fine with me”.

    mark: amen to that, even if it means we gather “puritan”. And the same for “Easter” and x-mass. Like us not doing it will influence some “weaker brothers” not to do it,as a means of their assurance…

  55. sdb
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    “…both NL and God’s law are precisely the same law! They are both one and the same, ethically! God does not have one standard called his law, and another standard called NL.”

    Doug, your problem is your utter lack of humility. You don’t see a problem with this statement? Do you even understand what Natural Law refers to and where the debate on this is? Maybe you could provide us with your working definition of Natural Law and explain how you overcome the is/ought distinction.

    Then perhaps you can explain how one gets the law about mixing fibers and which day of the week should be kept holy from the study of nature (no cheating, you can’t use revelation to derive this or it isn’t natural law!)? You know since God’s law and Natural law are EXACTLY the same. Or maybe you can explain where in the Bible we determine the correct speed limits for our roads or load limits for bridges, since what we infer from a study of nature (forces and all that) that informs our laws are exactly the same as God’s law. Again because God’s law and Natural law are EXACTLY the same.

    Or maybe, just maybe, you might have a teensy weeny bit to learn about what Natural Law entails and how it refers to God’s law. You might also consider what the critics of Natural Law have to say about it (some of don’t believe there is any such thing). But that would require you to admit you don’t know something and spend more time asking questions instead of making schoolboy taunts about people you disagree with. I know it’s asking a lot…

  56. Posted August 5, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Doug,

    I’ll be there for some Christian death metal on Sunday, then.

    Not much clapping & hand raising in my URC. I have no idea what people do in private. None of my business.

  57. Posted August 5, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted August 4, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink
    Tom & Zrim are both right about the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It can be read as both law and gospel. The problem with reading it as law only is you had better be stopping for every wounded traveler if you seek to be justified by your own goodness. Perfect, perpetual obedience is required to appease the wrath of a holy God. Either yours or that of another.

    That’s not Jesus’ point. You need to learn why the priest passes the injured man by. He thinks he’s pleasing God in doing so, as I suppose you do when you turn up your nose at the pro-life petition.

  58. Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Doug, are those folks bidden to raise their hands and does everyone do so in unison? My guess is no, it’s all spontaneous. Have any spontaneous kneelers over there? Doubt it. Why so inconsistent? But agreed there are biblical arguments for both postures in worship, but they have to be tempered by the equally biblical dialogical principle and orderliness which have a nice way of snuffing out spontaneity.

  59. Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    TVD, you need to learn why the scribe was trying to test Jesus (which provoked the parable in the first place). Then ask yourself who crucifies a fellow for a teaching about helping others out–must be more to it. But there are lots of folks who need help. Why stop at a pro-life petition? Then at what point does the church simply become a glorified soup kitchen.

  60. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
    TVD, you need to learn why the scribe was trying to test Jesus (which provoked the parable in the first place). Then ask yourself who crucifies a fellow for a teaching about helping others out–must be more to it. But there are lots of folks who need help. Why stop at a pro-life petition? Then at what point does the church simply become a glorified soup kitchen.

    Mr. Z, frankly I don’t know what your sect of sola scripturists knows about the Bible and what it doesn’t. So far, your interpretation is lacking. There’s a pointed reason why the first two men in the story are a priest and a Levite. It’s not just to play the hypocrisy angle; it’s far more pointed than that. You need to know why the priest passes the injured man by.

    He does so in the name of theology. That’s Jesus’ point, and why I brought up the story. I’m not going to get into a Bible battle with you, but everytime someone starts 2K-ing, I think of this story. People go on and on about the City of God vs. the City of Man, but at least here on earth, Jesus tells us over and over that to love God is linked to loving your neighbor. Indeed, that’s the answer to your question about the lawyer.

  61. Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Tom – That’s not Jesus’ point.

    Erik – When did you talk to him? I thought you didn’t do theology, much less talk to Jesus.

  62. Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Tom – but at least here on earth, Jesus tells us over and over that to love God is linked to loving your neighbor

    Erik – You’re still left with the thorny question of what “loving your neighbor” means in terms of public policy. If I see someone beaten on the side of the road I’ll stop and help. That doesn’t mean I want to pay 70% of my income in taxes.

  63. Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    sdb, next time you feel the need to admonish me, try actually reading what I wrote. I said, NL and God law are precisely the same law, *ethically*. Did you catch the last word? Because you didn’t acknowledge iThe moral essence of God’s law cannot change philosophically, because morality is universal.

    So your queries about mixing fiber prove, you just don’t get it. You should be ashamed you even made such an absurd non-point. If you bothered to read Bahnsen, you would have known the many laws were for Israel only and not the strangers and sojourners. Some laws were not intrinsiclaly moral. Some were typo-logical. They lost there force when Israel was abolished in 70AD. Now all food is clean, right? That is right in the new testament proving it wasn’t a moral law. Some of the laws had to be changed because of there cultural peculiarity. Laws like putting a rail around your roof, have lost there force, except for the general equity.

    Now if you have a house where you entertain friends of your roof, then you need to put a rail around your roof! But the same law now applies to to putting a fence or cover on pools , so children won’t fall in and drown. It’s an application of loving your neighbor like yourself.

    Speeding law are not ethical because they change. Like rather you drive 55 or 65 is not intrinsically eithical, it’s a matter of wisdom. sdb, haven’t you heard Bahnsen’s lectures of the different types of laws? For you to ask these weird questions, just goes to show maybe you should try reading “By This Standard”, it’s a really good read, and it’s written for us laymen.

    God bless you

  64. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
    Tom – That’s not Jesus’ point.

    Erik – When did you talk to him? I thought you didn’t do theology, much less talk to Jesus.

    You never heard the explanation of why the priest passes the injured man by? This is what I mean about not knowing what your sect of sola scripturists believes or knows.

    No I didn’t make up that theology–just google “Samaritan, priest, Levite” and you’ll find it easily enough. It’s absolutely key to the discussion here and to understanding the parable, which is far more than just about soup kitchens.

    That is, if you’re interested.

    As for whether I “do” theology, I didn’t say it like that, Erik–I was referring to injecting my theology into “doing” history, as some “historians” do. I think that stinks, and I object strongly.

    If you want to discuss stuff in good faith, best to read what a person actually writes, not Darryl Hart’s representation of it. As a busy and passionate man, Darryl sometimes doesn’t read people as carefully and charitably as he perhaps might.

  65. Posted August 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    DGH queries: “Doug, isn’t a raised hand an indication that someone doesn’t understand the sermon? That’s a good thing?”

    Darryl, are you really that dense? I said raising your hands in worship, which is a picture of the posture of your heart. It’s an important aspect of worship, imho. Are you ashamed to raise your hands in public worship on the Lord’s day? Why do you suppose that God commanded his people to raise their hands to him?

  66. Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    TVD, did you read the link I provided (actual biblical exegetes beat Google)? The parable isn’t about neighborliness, it’s about justification. We’re the man left for dead because we are dead in sins and cannot justify ourselves, not even through theology, which is why the Levite and the priest, those who taught we can. Jesus is the Good Samaritan who does for us what we cannot, something that scandalizes the religious authorities he’s speaking to and further twists the knife by aligning himself with their hated neighbors the Samaritans. The point isn’t to be a GS, it’s to believe in the GS.

    And the 2k point here isn’t to hold back charity. It’s to distinguish between the political and spiritual. The petition is pure politics. How about a humanitarian instead of a political work, as in a Pregnancy Resource Center instead of a petition?

  67. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
    TVD, did you read the link I provided (actual biblical exegetes beat Google)? The parable isn’t about neighborliness, it’s about justification.

    That’s what your church theologian says. I find it absurd that you drive past the obvious lesson of “I require mercy, not sacrifice,” plus the more informed cultural context of the priest avoiding the injured man out of the “uncleanliness” question, a context that would have been obvious to anyone of Jesus’ time and place.

    Zrim, you bring into further question your/your church’s ability to use the scriptures faithfully to derive doctrine. You seem to have drawn the exact opposite lesson from the parable than 99% of Christians over the past 2000 years, a contrarian/idiosyncratic interpretation of even the most straightforward of parables shows that even if your theology here is 100% correct, it leaves the Church very un-universal. Gnostic. You know what few others do.

    (actual biblical exegetes beat Google)

    Please don’t go there, bro. I was just hoping you’d do the google yourself. You seem to have never heard the argument, and I didn’t want to wield it as a weapon. It’s absolutely key to the discussion, and to understanding the parable. Why didn’t the priest and Levite stop to help?

  68. Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    Wikipedia says Zrim is in good company.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Good_Samaritan

    “Some Christians, such as Augustine, have interpreted the parable allegorically, with the Samaritan representing Jesus Christ, who saves the sinful soul.[3] Others, however, discount this allegory as unrelated to the parable’s original meaning,[3] and see the parable as exemplifying the ethics of Jesus.[4]”

    You and Doug should discuss why the laws regarding uncleanness were bad laws. Doug seems to say the Law of God is good for all people in all times and places.

  69. Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    It’s pretty easy to know what our churches believe — read our Confessions. We know how to draw distinctions between law and gospel. The church of Tom is not so straightforward. We’re still waiting for you to give us the big picture.

    You view the parable as pure law. In other words, “do this”. If you do it, does it cover all of the other duties that you have left undone? Even if I would concede it’s pure law, where does that leave me? Where does it leave you? Justified? Unjustified? In a state of ambiguity?

  70. Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    TVD, I’m familiar with the be-a-GS interpretation you put forward. It’s the default setting. But you’re not dealing with any of the believe-in-the-GS points being made, except to impugn with Gnosticism.

    The priest and Levite did stop to help because works-righteousness, which is what they stand for, is unable to rescue. Only Jesus saves.

  71. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Wikipedia says Zrim is in good company.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Good_Samaritan

    “Some Christians, such as Augustine, have interpreted the parable allegorically, with the Samaritan representing Jesus Christ, who saves the sinful soul.[3] Others, however, discount this allegory as unrelated to the parable’s original meaning,[3] and see the parable as exemplifying the ethics of Jesus.[4]”

    You and Doug should discuss why the laws regarding uncleanness were bad laws. Doug seems to say the Law of God is good for all people in all times and places.

    Erik Charter
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    It’s pretty easy to know what our churches believe — read our Confessions. We know how to draw distinctions between law and gospel. The church of Tom is not so straightforward. We’re still waiting for you to give us the big picture.

    You view the parable as pure law. In other words, “do this”. If you do it, does it cover all of the other duties that you have left undone? Even if I would concede it’s pure law, where does that leave me? Where does it leave you? Justified? Unjustified? In a state of ambiguity?

    Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink
    TVD, I’m familiar with the be-a-GS interpretation you put forward. It’s the default setting. But you’re not dealing with any of the believe-in-the-GS points being made, except to impugn with Gnosticism.

    The priest and Levite did stop to help because works-righteousness, which is what they stand for, is unable to rescue. Only Jesus saves.

    All this and you still won’t answer why the priest and the Levite pass the injured man by? I’ve never seen anything this obtuse.

  72. Posted August 5, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Tom, have you read Beza on the Good Samaritan (or only on resistance to tyranny)?

  73. Posted August 5, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    The question being asked was “who is my neighbor”. The answer was “The one who had mercy on him.” As to why the priest and levite did not stop to help, the passage does not say.

  74. Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    TVD, I’ve answered your question. You’re missing forest for trees. The question is, How do I inherit eternal life? The answer is to love God and neighbor. The follow up question (who is my neighbor?) is designed to circumvent the problem and narrow the definition of neighbor and make self-justification attainable. But Jesus expands it and renders self-justification impossible. This is Gnostic to ethical Christianity that tells us Jesus came to make bad people good and good people better, but it fits nicely with confessional Christianity that says in contrast that Jesus came to save sinners.

  75. sdb
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Doug,

    I said, NL and God law are precisely the same law, *ethically*. Did you catch the last word? Because you didn’t acknowledge iThe moral essence of God’s law cannot change philosophically, because morality is universal.

    You wrote that God’s law and natural law are “precisely the same law”, then you say they are one and the same and punctuate your sentence with “ethically”. Then you assert that God does not have one standard called his law and a different standard called natural law. So are we talking about laws, moral foundations or ethical codes? They aren’t the same thing.

    If you bothered to read Bahnsen, you would have known the many laws were for Israel only and not the strangers and sojourners. Some laws were not intrinsiclaly moral. Some were typo-logical.

    My point exactly! This isn’t a point made uniquely by Bahnsen. God’s law and natural law are not precisely the same law, they are not one and the same (ethically or morally). Not all parts of God’s law are the same after all. Maybe what you mean is that they aren’t contradictory. Not being in contradiction is not the same as being identical (one and the same in your construction).

    So we agree that natural law and God’s law are not one and the same (ethically or otherwise), and I presume we agree that these don’t contradict. But I remain unconvinced that you have any idea what Natural Law is all about. Some helpful reading on this topic is available here:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/natural-law-ethics

    Your criticism of R2K and advocacy of Bahnsen and Theonomy is not compelling…

  76. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    The question being asked was “who is my neighbor”. The answer was “The one who had mercy on him.” As to why the priest and levite did not stop to help, the passage does not say.

    Erik. The meaning of the Parable of the Good Samaritan was clear to everyone who Jesus told the parable to. You have endorsed Mr. Z [in his link] burying the plain meaning of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan under layers of theologic garbage about justification. Frankly, I’m appalled.

    There are no secret meanings in Jesus’ parables that defy the “plain” meaning that the merest child can understand.

    As to why the priest and levite did not stop to help, the passage does not say

    Of course there’s a reason why Jesus chose a priest and then a Levite, not just Man #1 and Man #2. Let’s not cop out now.

  77. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Zrim
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink
    TVD, I’ve answered your question. You’re missing forest for trees. The question is, How do I inherit eternal life? The answer is to love God and neighbor. The follow up question (who is my neighbor?) is designed to circumvent the problem and narrow the definition of neighbor and make self-justification attainable. But Jesus expands it and renders self-justification impossible. This is Gnostic to ethical Christianity that tells us Jesus came to make bad people good and good people better, but it fits nicely with confessional Christianity that says in contrast that Jesus came to save sinners.

    Mr. Z, thx for the reply. Can you rephrase this? I’m not missing the forest for the trees so much as missing it all in this fog. I thought the parable was that the worst of the worst, the Samaritan, the “phony” Jew, was doing God’s will in helping the man, whereas the true Jews, and the priestly Levite clan at that, the best of the best of the chosen people–the select–were not.

    Write slowly, por favor, so my pooh brain can keep up with your theologizing. I read very slow. take your time. This is important.

  78. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    sdb
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Permalink
    Doug,

    Your criticism of R2K and advocacy of Bahnsen and Theonomy is not compelling…

    You realize you’re hooked on this rhetorical trick, right, SDB, “Is not compelling” mean you’ve switched from arguing your side of the point to appointing yourself the judge and jury. Which is fine, but know that that means you’ve abandoned the battlefield of ideas for the commentary box.

    [I don’t find theonomy compelling either, FTR, for similar theological reasons. But don’t be ganging up on Brother Doug, or worse, pelting him from the sidelines. That’s not right.]

  79. Zrim
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    TVD, you keep talking about the plain meaning. It doesn’t apply universally to all of Scripture. You’ll probably hate this (get ready for more “Gnosticism,” Augustine is rolling over), but parables are partly designed to shroud their meaning to the masses who often think they’ve nailed it with one eye tied around their backs.

    But, yes, I’ve already said that Jesus added ethnic insult to sinner injury by making the good neighbor a Samaritan. The ethical interpretation you favor can co-exist with the justification interpretation, but the former has no way to explain what any of it has to do with the lawyer’s question in the first place. The best it can do is say that we are justified by good works. But the rest of the Bible rejects that idea. Ever heard of analogia fidei, or is that just more inside Reformed baseball?

  80. Posted August 6, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Tom – There are no secret meanings in Jesus’ parables that defy the “plain” meaning that the merest child can understand.

    Jesus –

    The Purpose of the Parables

    10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

    “You will indeed hear but never understand,
    and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
    15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
    and with their ears they can barely hear,
    and their eyes they have closed,
    lest they should see with their eyes
    and hear with their ears
    and understand with their heart
    and turn, and I would heal them.’
    16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

  81. Posted August 6, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Tom – You have endorsed Mr. Z [in his link] burying the plain meaning of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan under layers of theologic garbage about justification.

    Erik – Is not the whole New Testament about the righteousness of Christ and justification? If you don’t see it that way it’s because God has not given you eyes to see.

    From the Canons of Dort:

    Article 11: The Holy Spirit’s Work in Conversion

    Moreover, when God carries out this good pleasure in the elect, or works true conversion in them, God not only sees to it that the gospel is proclaimed to them outwardly, and enlightens their minds powerfully by the Holy Spirit so that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God, but, by the effective operation of the same regenerating Spirit, God also penetrates into the inmost being, opens the closed heart, softens the hard heart, and circumcises the heart that is uncircumcised. God infuses new qualities into the will, making the dead will alive, the evil one good, the unwilling one willing, and the stubborn one compliant. God activates and strengthens the will so that, like a good tree, it may be enabled to produce the fruits of good deeds.

    Article 12: Regeneration a Supernatural Work

    And this is the regeneration, the new creation, the raising from the dead, and the making alive so clearly proclaimed in the Scriptures, which God works in us without our help. But this certainly does not happen only by outward teaching, by moral persuasion, or by such a way of working that, after God’s work is done, it remains in human power whether or not to be reborn or converted. Rather, it is an entirely supernatural work, one that is at the same time most powerful and most pleasing, a marvelous, hidden, and inexpressible work, which is not less than or inferior in power to that of creation or of raising the dead, as Scripture (inspired by the author of this work) teaches. As a result, all those in whose hearts God works in this marvelous way are certainly, unfailingly, and effectively reborn and do actually believe. And then the will, now renewed, is not only activated and motivated by God, but in being activated by God is also itself active. For this reason, people t­hemselves, by that grace which they have received, are also rightly said to believe and to repent.

  82. Posted August 6, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Tom,

    I think you suffer from moralism and fall into the same trap as the people that Jesus was talking to. You hear the law and think you can do it (“it’s so simple”). It’s not simple, though, and you can’t do it, just like all of us. That’s why you need Jesus. Look at the Sermon on the Mount and take an inventory of how well you’re doing.

  83. Posted August 6, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Erik – Is not the whole New Testament about the righteousness of Christ and justification?

    Me: No that is not the whole story. Have you ever heard of sanctification? Isn’t that also in the New Testament? Erik, sanctification is not justification, to make matters even more curious, you go on to quote the cannons of Dort article 11 which is talking about *our* response to the Holy Spirit’s work done in us. Once again, that is not justification, although sanctification cannot be separated from justification, they are two different works.

    So no; Erik, the whole New Testament is not just about justification. It’s even greater than that!

  84. Posted August 6, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Erik demurs: “You and Doug should discuss why the laws regarding uncleanness were bad laws.”

    Me: Please Erik! Why put words in my mouth that are not true? The laws regarding uncleanness were necessary, in there form, until Christ came to make one new man in place of the two. Then changes were necessary. Moreover, there is new testament application for those laws today! Consider 2 Corinthians 6:14

    “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Fro what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,”

    Me: Now Erik, see how Paul gives new covenant application for the *cleanliness* laws originally given to Israel and applies them to the church at Corinth.

    “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people,
    Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, say the Lord,
    and touch no unclean thing,
    then I will welcome you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
    says the Lord Almighty.”

    Me: Erik, are you saying cleanliness laws are no longer applicable? Paul just said they were! I would say YES, but in a proper new covenant context.

    Quick question: How can we touch an unclean thing in the new covenant?

  85. Posted August 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Doug,

    You muddle the gospel for someone like Tom when you wrap justification and sanctification together the way you do. Read your own OPC’s Report on Justification.

    I’m starting to think you are some kind of a plant. Can you tell us what OPC you are a member of and who your pastor is? If not, why not?

  86. Posted August 6, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Erik, I was responding to you! You said; ““You and Doug should discuss why the laws regarding uncleanness were bad laws.”

    Me: Erik, I just provided new testament Scripture that applies uncleanness laws to the church. In a new covenant context.

    What say you?

  87. Posted August 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Doug,

    Your church credentials? I want to find out if you are in good standing.

  88. Posted August 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    @Erik, muddling the gospel? That is one heck of a charge, bro. I was pointing out that justification is inseparable from sanctification, exactly like the WCF teaches. How is that muddling anything? You can’t be justified if your not being sanctified, just like you can’t fly a plane with one wing. How many times must you be told?

    So who has true saving faith? That’s where the tension lies Erik and most of you Old Lifers want to wipe away any tension.. It’s to God’s good pleasure to let our faith play itself out in life some to reprobation and others to glorification. God says our faith will persevere to the end. We rest in his completed work, and press on to the higher calling. Both are true! Unless you want to ignore the full counsel of God’s Word.

    I believe we are saved by grace, through faith, and that is not of ourselves, but is a gift from God, lest anyone of us should boast. But Erik, our faith is never alone and (must!) produce good works, lest it be proved fraudulent. We are warned all through the new testament to walk in the fear of the Lord, lest we fall short of the higher calling found in Christ. In other words, some people are just *playing* like they are Christians, but will be found out on the last day. True evangelical faith will endure to the end. And only those who endure to the end shall be saved. That was straight from the mouth of the Lord Jesus. Did Jesus muddle his own gospel?

    God wants relationship! It’s those who are his sheep that hear his voice and obey him. If you are pushing back on faith and obedience, then its you who needs to check yourself.

    I never hear you or anyone else here at Old Life deal with those exhortations and warnings replete throughout God’s Word. And then you have the gall to say I’m muddling the gospel?

    I believe in regeneration, union, justification, sanctification, adoption, and finally one day consummation when we receive our new bodies.

    So me how that muddles the gospel Erik. If you are going to make such a serious charge, back it up!

  89. Posted August 6, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Douglas,

    Your church credentials? I want to find out if you are in good standing.

  90. Posted August 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    From the Heidelberg:

    Question 114. But can those who are converted to God perfectly keep these commandments?

    Answer: No: but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; yet so, that with a sincere resolution they begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God.

    Note the hedging. No such hedging in the questions on justification and the righteousness of Christ, though.

  91. Posted August 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    114 is why I have no time for the legalist, the pietist, and the crusader in the church. I go out of my way to avoid these people. If they’re in adult Sunday school speaking their minds I’ll be at Starbucks reading the Sunday paper. Life’s too short.

  92. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Zrim
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 7:43 am | Permalink
    TVD, you keep talking about the plain meaning. It doesn’t apply universally to all of Scripture. You’ll probably hate this (get ready for more “Gnosticism,” Augustine is rolling over), but parables are partly designed to shroud their meaning to the masses who often think they’ve nailed it with one eye tied around their backs.

    But, yes, I’ve already said that Jesus added ethnic insult to sinner injury by making the good neighbor a Samaritan. The ethical interpretation you favor can co-exist with the justification interpretation, but the former has no way to explain what any of it has to do with the lawyer’s question in the first place. The best it can do is say that we are justified by good works. But the rest of the Bible rejects that idea. Ever heard of analogia fidei, or is that just more inside Reformed baseball?

    You want it both ways. You distort the surface meaning, of care for our neighbor–even though the passage follows immediately after the Two Great Commandments, to love God and love your neighbor as yourself!

    Then you want to excuse the heap of your idiosyncratic theology you’ve buried the parable under. Well, you still don’t get the theology. This isn’t just 3 random people. The priest passes the man by because to even get near the bleeding man would make the priest unclean. And the Samaritan was chosen for the parable because they were “phony” Jews.

    http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-samaritans.htm

    Not true Jews, not by blood the “chosen” people atall. Yet Jesus indicates it’s the Samaritan who is pleasing to God–not the priest or the Levite [who are the tribe of priests], presumably the chosen of the chosen.

    If I had to write a parable to smack those who consider themselves “elect,” to wake up those who value theological purity over helping the poor and sick, I couldn’t write a better one than this. The surface meaning is further enhanced by the deeper understanding of who the priest, Levite, and Samaritan represent–the parable is a condemnation of valuing theology over charity!

    This has been quite an education, Brother Z. I had no idea that the “plain” meaning of the Bible could be so buried and distorted by self-proclaimed “sola scriptura” people. I thought only the Catholics did that.

    In the very least, Thomas More is proven right. You’re saying there are meanings not available to your average Christian, only to those who have access to and who listen to your theologians. That’s a concept of Christianity I do not even recognize. Somebody, say it ain’t so!

  93. Posted August 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Tom – If I had to write a parable to smack those who consider themselves “elect,” to wake up those who value theological purity over helping the poor and sick, I couldn’t write a better one than this. The surface meaning is further enhanced by the deeper understanding of who the priest, Levite, and Samaritan represent–the parable is a condemnation of valuing theology over charity!

    Erik – It’s either/or? You seem to be emoting more than reasoning on this one.

    How does Reformed theology preclude charity?

    You also have to reconcile the parable with all of the theologically narrow things that Jesus said about himself — like no man comes to the Father but by him, that he is the bread of heaven, that he and the father are one, etc. If all Jesus wanted to do was promote neighbor-love he could have left all of that stuff out. One could argue it just gets in the way.

  94. Posted August 6, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Tom – In the very least, Thomas More is proven right. You’re saying there are meanings not available to your average Christian, only to those who have access to and who listen to your theologians. That’s a concept of Christianity I do not even recognize. Somebody, say it ain’t so!

    Erik – Actually “our theologians” aren’t even that necessary. Things like the centrality of Christ, the gospel, and election are pretty clear from a straightforward reading of Scripture. Catholicism? Mormonism? Arminianism? Universalism? Not so clear.

  95. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink
    Tom – If I had to write a parable to smack those who consider themselves “elect,” to wake up those who value theological purity over helping the poor and sick, I couldn’t write a better one than this. The surface meaning is further enhanced by the deeper understanding of who the priest, Levite, and Samaritan represent–the parable is a condemnation of valuing theology over charity!

    Erik – It’s either/or? You seem to be emoting more than reasoning on this one.

    How does Reformed theology preclude charity?

    You also have to reconcile the parable with all of the theologically narrow things that Jesus said about himself — like no man comes to the Father but by him, that he is the bread of heaven, that he and the father are one, etc. If all Jesus wanted to do was promote neighbor-love he could have left all of that stuff out. One could argue it just gets in the way.

    That’s changing the subject. Back to the sheep and the goats, por favor, or the Good Samaritan story which we’re discussing.

    As for “charity,” not a strong enough term–if the Samaritan leaves the man bleeding at the side of the road, it’s a matter of life or death. Which bears directly on your turning your nose up at the pro-life petition in the name of your “Two Kingdoms” theology.

    Bah. The Kingdom has people in it. The Two Great Commandments are inseparable–and appear in k 10:27–three verses before the story of the Good Samaritan!

    And as for fancy theology, just a few verses before that,

    In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

    Hidden from the learned, clear to the merest child. Careful with that theology stuff, lest you hurt somebody with it.

  96. Posted August 6, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Tom – That’s changing the subject. Back to the sheep and the goats, por favor, or the Good Samaritan story which we’re discussing.

    Erik – Not really. Good works flow out of justification. If you have evidence of Reformed people not practicing good works toward you or others you are always able to take the matter to their overseers. The parables you cite seem to suggest individual as opposed to communal responsibility, however.

    Say I grant you that good works are the essence of Christianity, indeed the only thing that’s really important about Christianity. If we all die and are dead (or if everyone is saved), what consequences do I have if I fail to do them? What reward do you have if you do do them? What does it matter?

    If you do believe in life after death and believe that good works is the way to get there (based on these two parables), you have a lot of other passages to explain away.

    Catholic theology (not just Reformed theology) would also be extraneous, of course.

    Your critique does not seem to be completely coherent. You just keep throwing stuff at the wall to see if anything sticks.

  97. jimi
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Shorter Tom:

    Wah! Wah wah wah!!!

  98. Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    People who dialogue with you learn more from what you won’t address than what you will. Gaping holes in your worldview (if I may use that word). That’s kind of what happens when you make one up yourself, though. There’s a reason that worldviews are pretty well established after however many thousands of years of human history. If you’re basically a secularist I would suggest there are ways to have more fun with it than the way you are going about it now — like just ignoring us. If I was a secularist that is what I would do with religious people, activism, doing good, etc. Just live and let live and enjoy your brief time before death and decay sets in. Don’t sweat it.

  99. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    My critique is entirely coherent. You can’t appoint yourself judge, you’re a litigant. And stow the psychoanalysis of moi and either reply to the subject of Luke 10 or move along.

    Besides, you’re wrong about me, as usual.

  100. Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Regarding matters of life & death:

    While you have been online today, presumably people have gone hungry in L.A. Certainly children have died of malnutrition in Africa. Abortions have taken place. What have you done about them? Shouldn’t you be doing charitable work overseas where the most people are dying instead of recruiting lawyers in L.A.? L.A. needs more high-paid lawyers?

    My point is not to criticize what you do, but to point out how precariously you sit on your high horse.

  101. Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Tom – either reply to the subject of Luke 10 or move along

    Erik – I did. Your interpretation is not complete because you don’t account for all of Scripture. That’s the problem with trying to make an elaborate argument based on one or two passages against Confessionalists. You’re always coming up against a coherent system that has been tested by hundreds of years of experience. You may not like the system, but it’s internally consistent.

  102. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Again you’re personalizing it, Erik. Cut it out. We’re talking about Luke 10, not me. You seem to have no rebuttal, only again with the false choice of doing everything or doing nothing. We do what we can–it’s never enough, but trying is better than walking on by, as the priest and the Levite do in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

    The Kingdom has people in it. The Two Great Commandments are inseparable–and appear in Lk 10:27–three verses before the story of the Good Samaritan!

    And as for fancy theology, just a few verses before that,

    “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.”

    Hidden from the learned, clear to the merest child. Careful with that theology stuff, lest you hurt somebody with it.

  103. Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    If your critique of us was all that, don’t you think you would have found an ally or allies by now on a site with no comment screening? How long do you plan to continue this? Can you at least recruit some friends to join you? There’s about three of us that haven’t tuned you out and even my patience is not infinite.

  104. Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Tom – You seem to have no rebuttal, only again with the false choice of doing everything or doing nothing.

    Erik – Your mistake is assuming “we” do nothing? How would you know? Have you seen my checkbook? Have you seen my church’s checkbook? Did you know we have deacons, part of whose job is to assist the poor inside and outside of the church?

    The point is, we don’t boast about these things because (1) Jesus says not to, (2) They’re none of your business. What we do is preach the gospel and teach the whole of Scripture, of which helping others is part of, but not all.

    It would be nice if you could come around here without a constant axe to grind. It’s getting pretty pathological. You need to ask yourself if you have some kind of addiction to the adrenaline rush you get from arguing with people. I’m serious.

  105. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    If your critique of us was all that, don’t you think you would have found an ally or allies by now on a site with no comment screening? How long do you plan to continue this? Can you at least recruit some friends to join you? There’s about three of us that haven’t tuned you out and even my patience is not infinite.

    I’m not writing for you. Quite right the Bible is a “whole,” but that also means reconciling to each part. We’re testing [1 Thessalonians 5:21] to see if your theology can account for the parable of the Good Samaritan and that of the Sheep and the Goats. It can’t, so they must be ignored, minimized them, or distorted. You’ve had every chance to reconcile your theology to these passages, but you just keep digging the hole deeper and deeper.

    Whether or not this makes you reconsider, this will be obvious to some reader, now or perhaps googling on the internet years from now–perhaps even yourself at some future date, EC. It’s for them we have this discussion, then. And if we have nothing but the ad hom game left, our work here is finished. Peace.

  106. Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Tom – Again you’re personalizing it, Erik

    Erik – Theology is personal to committed Christians. If you’re just a gadfly then admit it and we’ll just treat you like a troll. I appealed to people to lay off you in order to give you a chance to make a coherent case for what you believe. You haven’t done that. As of tomorrow I’m going to treat you like a troll if you don’t. If what you believe is up-in-the-air, just say so and we can be friends. Time is too precious to waste on a gadfly or a troll, though.

  107. Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Tom – . It can’t, so they must be ignored, minimized them, or distorted. You’ve had every chance to reconcile your theology to these passages, but you just keep digging the hole deeper and deeper.

    Erik – And who do you have to verify your judgment? You pat yourself on the back an awful lot.

    The Heidelberg is broken into three parts. Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude. The parables fall into the “guilt” section (because in our sin we fail to uphold the law of God) and in the gratitude section. We do good works out of thankfulness for what Christ has done. When Christ saves someone, sanctification and good works follow. Good works are not in the “Grace” section, however, where it seems you (and perhaps Doug) would like to conflate them with Christ’s work. The parables have been accounted for quite nicely.

  108. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Peace, brother. Do what you must.

  109. Posted August 6, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    When people come here in the future, exactly what do you expect that they will think you were representing? And why would someone who agrees with whatever you believe come here? Shouldn’t you be posting this stuff on a site for people more like you? I know you flatter yourself and think you are scoring these big points, but most people have just given up trying to make sense of you. And I’m talking attorneys, CPA’s, Ph.D. scientists, Ph.D. historians, and theologians. Dude…

  110. Zrim
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    If I had to write a parable to smack those who consider themselves “elect,” to wake up those who value theological purity over helping the poor and sick, I couldn’t write a better one than this. The surface meaning is further enhanced by the deeper understanding of who the priest, Levite, and Samaritan represent–the parable is a condemnation of valuing theology over charity!

    TVD, no, the parable doesn’t pit doctrine and life. Both are vital. But what a confessional interpretation does is pit justification by either doctrine or life against justification by Christ alone. The ethical interpretation you favor wants justification by life as opposed to doctrine. Fine, but that’s not Protestant. It’s Kantian.

  111. kent
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    My lucky day, I read the thread and get to learn the only possible teaching about the GS parable.

  112. Posted August 6, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    The thing Tom hasn’t figured out is that if I am going to do theological ambiguity and incoherence it’s going to involve lots of booze and hot women. It won’t involve typing on blogs all the live-long day. Farewell, Tom. And no e-mails either until you make a complete, coherent case for your beliefs. That’s YOUR beliefs, not a critique of mine. It’s for your own good.

  113. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink
    The thing Tom hasn’t figured out is that if I am going to do theological ambiguity and incoherence it’s going to involve lots of booze and hot women. It won’t involve typing on blogs all the live-long day. Farewell, Tom. And no e-mails either until you make a complete, coherent case for your beliefs. That’s YOUR beliefs, not a critique of mine. It’s for your own good.

    I’m not falling into the Warrior Children trap where you attack everyone else’s beliefs instead of making a case for your own. I’m on to you guys. It’s your theological blog and you’re in the docket, not me or anyone else. Test all things.

    When you venture onto the Called to Communion blog, they’re happy to defend their beliefs. But you do your Warrior Children bit.

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2013/07/twitter-world-youth-day-and-indulgences/#comment-54171________

    Tom Brown July 25th, 2013 7:48 pm :
    Dear Erik,

    Regarding your comment #64, you continue to press — without any regard for the topic of this post — with pet issues about which you wish to have people hear your thoughts. I have asked you in two comments in this very combox to refrain from doing that. In #38 I said:

    You and others are invited to comment here for ecumenical dialogue related to the article or post in question.

    In #61 I said:

    Regarding your comments #42 and 43, they do not relate at all to this post. For the benefit of people following the conversation in the combox, it’s important to stay on-topic. So please feel free to e-mail me privately with those questions about Catholicism, or find a post or article where they’re on-topic, and I would be happy to respond.

    Now you come forward in #64 and say: “One thing I was thinking about yesterday re. the need for an “infallible interpreter”. . . . . My point – I think your quest for “one infallible interpreter” is overrated.” But this post is about World Youth Day and indulgences, and has nothing to do with infallible interpretation. I am truly befuddled. Brother, please, if you cannot relate your comments to the post, we will no longer be able to approve them. This is for everyone’s betterment, that the quality of the conversation here could be preserved.

    Peace in Christ,
    Tom B.

    So if you can’t make a good Biblical case for your theology and account for the parable of the Good Samaritan, fine. You want to tell me that it’s about your pet issue of justification instead of loving your neighbor, fine. It’s patently absurd, but fine, we’ve smoked you out.

    And walk into your trap where you do all the attacking, no thanks. I think we’ve laid bare your tactics and your theology. The test is over.

    Peace in Darryl, warrior child.
    T.

  114. Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    Erik, when are you going to grow up? My church standings are none of your business. Just pretend like I am using a fake name like everyone else on this blog. Why can’t you dialog without being such a busy body? My question still stands, if you are going to make the absurd charge that I am muddling the gospel, then at least have the decency to explain how.

    The balls in your court……

  115. Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    Erik, I realize this is only a blog, but I’ve known you for almost a year. If you are serious that I am muddling the gospel, then the only decent thing to do, tell me how I am muddling it.

    And quit your incessant prodding about my church standing! You pulled the same crap with Richard Smith and others you violently disagree with. I have been very honest with you and everyone else on this blog. But prying into my personal life is out of bounds, so Stop it!

    Now, if you are gong to make the absurd charge that I am muddling the gospel, then first define a working definition by what you mean, by the gospel, and then tell me how I muddled it.

    FWIW, I agree with the WCF in the main.

    Keep pressing on!

  116. Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    And furthermore Erik, your theology is so confused you can’t answer Tom Van Dykes very direct questions. I can! You seem to want to run and hide from Scripture after Scripture. Why can’t you engage in the parable of the sheep and the goats?

    Good works are totally necessary if you *think* you are going to heaven. Here is the point, our good works done in faith are not the ground of our salvation, but they are the vindication of our salvation. If you have no good works, then you don’t really have saving faith. Everyone born of God cannot continue to practice sin. Therefore they will walk by faith, since everything that is not of faith is sin. And even the good works that we do, are done in His strength, so he gets all the glory.

    See? Like I said, easy japaneezie….

  117. Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Doug, that’s exactly what our Lord said to the thief on the cross.

  118. Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Tom, read much? Tom B’s interaction with Erik shows no defense of a belief. It is only more logical ball-busting. Your point?

  119. Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    “When you venture onto the Called to Communion blog, they’re happy to defend their beliefs”

    Yeah, as they post 1 of every 4 comments that I make.

    The “members” of CTC can see all of the comments that have not been approved yet. If someone wants to respond, it gets approved. Notice how the response often includes excerpts from the comment being responded to at the same time that original comment goes up. It’s a totally rigged game, just like Catholicism. No one but them sees the comments that they have no answer for. Slimy stuff.

  120. Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Doug,

    What are you hiding about your church membership? Are you not a member anywhere? Have you been excommunicated for your extreme Theonomy? It’s relevant if I’m to take you seriously. Richard wasn’t a church member either and it was relevant in evaluating his extreme revivalism. We need to be able to identify extremists in Reformed circles because they’re one of the biggest problems in our communities. If you’ve been kicked out I would think you would be proud to admit it.

  121. Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Doug,

    It would also be nice to know who your elders are for when you fly off the handle. We could just shoot them an e-mail and see what they think.

  122. Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Doug,

    Here’s how you’re muddying the gospel:

    http://www.opc.org/GA/justification.pdf

    No more interaction from me with you until I know your church membership status.

    With Richard gone and Doug & Tom ignored my work here may be complete. I can enter into my rest.

  123. AB
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Erik, to butt in here, we can post at C2C all we want, as we have in the past. It might be slimy, but it should be recognized whenever we post anywhere, it serves the group of that online community more than it does the individual poster. I mean, obvious stuff. What I mean is, you were right to call your engaging with them ‘evangelism,’ but don’t think for a minute we aren’t helpping their cause when we spend time even just reading their writing. They obviously still read us,given their consistent posting here and their timely responses to Darryl’s post. Despite the growing numbers of authors, they still can’t self regulate. Must be hard work being a Roman Catholic. I digress (duh…). Take care.

  124. sdb
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    “I can enter into my rest.”
    Until the draft anyway…

  125. Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    So let me gets this straight. Tom doesn’t write here so much for us, but for posterity. His demolitions of Reformed Theology and 2K will remain here for generations (or at least until D.G. quits paying his web hosting bill) for like-minded skeptics to come along and stand in awe of his brilliance.

    At the same time, however, he refuses to make an affirmative case for what he believes because we’re Machen’s Warrior Children and will attack it. Well won’t his eloquent rebuttals of our fruitless attacks also make choice reading for his future allies who stumble onto the site?

    Why would he seek to limit his glorious legacy?

  126. kent
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Erik, there are miles to go before you sleep…

    hee….

  127. Muddy Gravel
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Not to worry, Erik. His picture will also be there for posterity. A double Mensa couldn’t overcome that.

  128. Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Erik, isn’t this rich? Almost everyone on this blog doesn’t use there real name, and you prod me about membership? Like I said, grow up! On one hand you feel free to make the outlandish charge that I have muddled the gospel, then when you get called on it, you send me a OPC report on justification? LOL!

    Earth to Erik! I hold to a distinction between justification and sanctification, yet without a separation! You apparently don’t, because every time I mention sanctification you cry foul.You have inadvertently busted yourself for being out of conformity on our standards you champion without even realizing it. If you bothered to read that report it says that sanctification cannot be separated from justification. Both are necessary! Try to let that sink into your brain. Therefore good works are most certainly necessary for salvation. Not as the ground of our salvation, but as the vindication or reality that you are truly saved. No good works, no salvation. It’s that simple.

  129. Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Erik, if I were sitting down with you, I might feel comfortable giving you my personal biography, but we are on line. Can’t you be sensitive to that obvious truth? Moreover my membership has nothing to do with your charge that I am muddling the gospel. That is a very serious charge. How dare you?

    And your feeble response is to send me the OPC report on justification? That doesn’t even begin to prove what you just accused me of. Is the OPC report equal to the Bible?

    Let’s me just say for the record, I am not a church discipline for anything. As for extreme theonomy, those are your words not mine. You are going to find out one day, that if you really are a christian, then you are just as theonomic as I am.

    You have always been my favorite here at Old LIfe Erik, but you’re starting to implode. Let’s treat each other like Christ has commanded us, with love, and stay on topic, and quit acting like a jack ass.

  130. kent
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Doug, most of the contributors on here are members of NAPARC denominations (plus a few others outside of it) and we have an implicit understanding of what we hold in common for an ocean of theology.

    It is impossible to express all that we have learned and believe on a forum such as OLTS. Nor do we really want to rehash what we take for granted is in the minds and hearts of fellow NAPARC members.

    So, we all can bear in mind maybe a little better where people stand when they are and aren’t a part of NAPARC. Members who subscribe to 3FU churches are probably 98% (by default) down with what is in the WCF, and likewise. But they still don’t have a declaration of acceptance of the other side’s confessions, nor feel any responsibility for what is in the other’s confessions, nor should they be unless they’ve signed on board to both.

    Just sayin….

  131. Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Finally Erik, since you opened your mouth, and claimed I muddled the gospel, how about defining what you mean, by the gospel?

    I’m all ears………..

  132. Josh Taylor
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Justification is the necessary prerequisite of the process of sanctification, that process is not the necessary prerequisite of justification. It is true to say that one must be justified in order to be sancti- fied; but it is untrue to say that one must be sanctified in order to be justified. Justification and sanctification bear a relationship to each other that cannot be reversed.

  133. kent
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Justification, sanctification, regeneration, the enhancement of our mystical union, the Gospel, are all terms we are all in agreement with as NAPARC members… and a few exceptions will prove the rule of course.

  134. Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Josh,

    Thanks for spraying that air freshener into the room. Ahhhh……

    The thief on the cross had a hard time honing his sanctification before he passed, as did Lord Marchmain in Brideshead Revisited with his deathbed conversion (setting aside for a moment the church he was in).

  135. kent
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    and with the mention of BH, i lost a bet once and have to include the following:

    Frasier: Noel, surely you realize that Star Trek is just a TV show.

    Noel: So was Brideshead Revisited!

    Frasier: You’re angry, so I’m going to ignore that.

  136. Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Kent, I am not asking for everything you have every learned. My question is real simple; please define the gospel. Is that too hard?

    When people carelessly make charges, like muddling the gospel, one should at least try to back up, no? Erik opened his big mouth, so he should be willing to first splain how I muddled it, and then define how he understand the word gospel. In love of course.

    I don’t ask for much, just common decency.

  137. Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Charles Ryder asks questions of the Callers of his day:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKqslOyPRts

  138. Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Erik, the thief of the cross made the good confession! That was a very good work born from a heart of faith! So even though his life was cut short, he most certainly did a very good work and he endured to the end of his life on earth.

    Josh, I didn’t say anything about the order. But if they are inseparable, (as the OPC report says) then if one is truly justified, he MUST also be sanctified. You can’t have one without the other, amen? Don’t let the order confuse you Josh, you answer the question.

    How about this order? Regeneration, Union, Justification, Sanctification, Adoption, and consummation.

    We need all of them, right boys?

  139. Josh Taylor
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Doug,
    I was quoting the OPC report on Justification.

  140. sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Doug, the order Josh highlighted IS the point. The straight answer is where God brings Justification He also brings sanctification. But, if you fail to honor the the relationship between justification and sanctification AS Josh has set it forth, you fail to be Pauline or a confessional protestant as we presume of each other here.

  141. Josh Taylor
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Doug,
    Do you agree with this statement?

    It is untrue to say that one must be sanctified in order to be justified.

  142. Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Sean, how many times do I have to say it? You saw my order, it goes regeneration, faith and repentance, justification, sanctification, adoption, and finally consummation.

    Josh, failed to account for regeneration and faith and repentance, which must happen prior to justification, amen?

    How about laying a little christian charity on me?

    Quick question Sean; (for reals) what comes first justification, or faith and repentance?

  143. Josh Taylor
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Doug,
    I am sorry if you feel that I have been uncharitable. I am merely trying to determine if we are just talking past each other.

    Would you please answer my question?

    thanks.

  144. sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Doug, depends how you want to look at it; Redemption accomplished or redemption applied. Neither answer diminishes the relationship between justification and sanctification Josh has highlighted. I think we’d all like to hear your plain response to Josh.

  145. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    D. G. Hart
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink
    Tom, read much? Tom B’s interaction with Erik shows no defense of a belief. It is only more logical ball-busting. Your point?

    Sophistic as usual. Read the whole thread. Then read the other threads where the your Warrior Children assault the beaches of Called to Communion. Try it with the Bible too. I look forward to your remarks on the Good Samaritan and the Sheep and the Goats.

  146. Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    D.G.,

    Make sure and ask for the comments that didn’t make it through moderation, too. Tom is as impressed with the Callers as he was with the Stasi back in the day.

  147. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink
    D.G.,

    Make sure and ask for the comments that didn’t make it through moderation, too. Tom is as impressed with the Callers as he was with the Stasi back in the day.

    The Stasi. Heh. They should moderate your endless barrage of irrelevancies. Because their discussions are indeed to have a point. To be read years later. To be readable.

    They also slapped your wrist for admitting you were there to evangelize, not discuss. Perhaps Darryl missed that part. That’s why no one is actually writing to you or for you, because you’re not participating in good faith. Peace.

  148. sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    TVD, knock it off. You can’t be serious about an ecumenical dialogue when your running converts to your brand of RC up the flag pole every time one of them jumps ship. CtC runs a bait and switch under the guise of ecumenism. They also do in fact moderate comments to the point of never posting them if they don’t feel they have an adequate answer or if posting the answer may sway 3rd party readers toward the confessional protestant position. It’s fine if they want to run their site that way, it’s their world, but don’t sell your ‘good faith’ on their part here.

    Peace out. Bra

  149. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink
    TVD, knock it off. You can’t be serious about an ecumenical dialogue when your running converts to your brand of RC up the flag pole every time one of them jumps ship. CtC runs a bait and switch under the guise of ecumenism. They also do in fact moderate comments to the point of never posting them if they don’t feel they have an adequate answer or if posting the answer may sway 3rd party readers toward the confessional protestant position. It’s fine if they want to run their site that way, it’s their world, but don’t sell your ‘good faith’ on their part here.

    Peace out. Bra

    I only know them from the Old Lifers’ attacks on them. They seem happy. Not crabby.

  150. sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    TVD, I’m crabby. I don’t know that it’s fair to paint everyone here that way. CtC aren’t happy so much as staged, IMO. Strikes me more like a Stepford convert, than an RC.

  151. Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Sean and TVD, I don’t think the copies in Invasion of the Body Snatchers were happy.

  152. sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Invasion of B.S. works too.

  153. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Ah, God’s Pod People. Of course the doctrine of irresistible grace, where God not only walks through the door but is the one to open it in the first place, leaves this particular piece of sarcasm in a theological bind. Resistance is futile.

    You do, however, retain the free will to be crabby, so it’s all starting to add up now…

  154. sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    TVD, you’re struggling, as usual, putting the pieces together. I’m crabby now. I was a PTSD suffering RC survivor with a crank habit. God works with us where He finds us. How’s Justin doing?

  155. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink
    TVD, you’re struggling, as usual, putting the pieces together. I’m crabby now. I was a PTSD suffering RC survivor with a crank habit. God works with us where He finds us. How’s Justin doing?

    Crabby in an existential sense, sean. Not getting personal. As for your life history, an ex-anything is usually the last guy to talk to on a personal level. In my historical stuff, I end up defending the fundies as a matter of religious pluralism. Usually from people brought up fundamentalist.

    It ain’t pretty.

  156. Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Tater was downright giddy when he posted here earlier this week.

    Most of the people responding to me there, other than Casey Chalk, were pretty crabby. That site sucks about as much as Baylyblog. Put that in your ecumenical pipe and smoke it.

    Casey is the one who told me the contributors can see the comments while they are in moderation.

    Tom’s notion of blogs being timeless is laughable. The internet is about as un-timeless as it gets. Maybe I’ll restart my Facebook page so I can leave a legacy.

  157. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Their past discussions are quite readable and worth reading because of the moderating, I’ve followed the links from some of Darryl’s articles. I even saw the pre-conversion Jason Stellman. Now THAT was interesting.

    Fortunately, nobody will be reading the ones here ever again nor do I expect anyone to be “called to crabbiness” who isn’t already crabby. It all works out well.

  158. Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Josh, I wasn’t referring to you as being uncharitable, so I apologize if I wasn’t clear. I was referring to Erik charging me with muddling the gospel, but failing to say how. All Erik did is plop at an article on justification which I tend to agree with, although I haven’t had time to read it all. It is over 90 pages.

    Now as to your statement:

    “It is untrue to say that one must be sanctified in order to be justified.”

    Depends Josh, *definitive* sanctification, ie faith and repentance surely proceeds justification, no? One must first repent and have faith prior to justification and union with Christ, no? It’s faith that is the alone instrument, correct? Well then, definitive sanctification must proceed justification.

    Who repents Josh? You or God? Is repentance a *work* wrought in us by the Holy Spirit as a free gift of his grace? How about faith? Who exercises faith? Isn’t God wrought faith the very instrument that puts us in union with Christ and gives us, justification, sanctification, adoption and ultimately consummation? Shouldn’t one have faith prior to being justified?

    If yes, then I don’t think your sentence gives us the full picture.

    Feel free to critique me, I’m all ears………..

    Here is my order:

    Regeneration (Purely a work of God giving us a new heart)
    Repentance and faith (definitive sanctification) which is a result of having a new heart
    Union, which gives us all the other benefits like: Justification
    sanctification
    adoption
    consummation
    Moreover, I think they can happen almost simultaneously, with sanctification an ongoing work of God in our lives.

    What’s wrong with that? And how does that muddle the good news?

  159. sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    TVD: Fortunately, nobody will be reading the ones here ever again nor do I expect anyone to be “called to crabbiness” who isn’t already crabby. It all works out well.

    Me: See that wasn’t such a long walk. Welcome.

    I do like your schtick of being the credentialed historian observing the creatures in their artificial habitat. It has all the antiquity of modernity and all the scholarship of a combox response. You should pitch it to Phil Hendrie as a new persona.

  160. Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    “Their past discussions are quite readable and worth reading because of the moderating.”

    Pornography is also really great because of the women’s natural, unadorned beauty. Good grief…

  161. Josh Taylor
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Doug,
    When you use the term salvation, do you equate this with the entire ordo salutis? Again I am just trying to understand how you define terms.

    As far as your response to my question (and I believe this has to do with the limitations of this media) I gave you the context of the question. The OPC report on Justification. It’s not my statement, but a statement from the report. You changed the context of the statement and did not answer the question in any meaningful way. Do you agree with the statement in the context in which it was written?

  162. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink
    TVD: Fortunately, nobody will be reading the ones here ever again nor do I expect anyone to be “called to crabbiness” who isn’t already crabby. It all works out well.

    Me: See that wasn’t such a long walk. Welcome.

    I do like your schtick of being the credentialed historian observing the creatures in their artificial habitat. It has all the antiquity of modernity and all the scholarship of a combox response. You should pitch it to Phil Hendrie as a new persona.

    I’m not credentialed. I call myself more a student of history than a historian. I don’t even write “an” historian.

    But some historians like my work. A lot.

    As for my study of the Warrior Children, it’s about complete. You’ve given me quite a window into the Calvinist mindset and worldview, even as you deny you even have a worldview. You’ll be surprised to learn it will result more in my explaining Calvinists sympathetically–as you understand yourselves–than sitting in judgment of your absurd theology.

    Ooops, did I just say that? Scratch that–as a student of history, it’s not up to me to judge. It’s all good. 😉

  163. Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    “As for my study of the Warrior Children, it’s about complete.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddmXM-96-no

    I’m starting to consider a monetary incentive to facilitate that.

  164. Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    “You’ll be surprised to learn it will result more in my explaining Calvinists sympathetically–as you understand yourselves–than sitting in judgment of your absurd theology.”

    Who knew Penthouse Magazine was still publishing investigative freelance journalism.

  165. AB
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Pretty rich, Tom. You’ve got Machen figured out? My guess is the next time I open up oldlife dot org (ie 2014), you and the crew will be enjoying a beer together here, acting like you were always an oldlifer.

    Really, man. This is entertaining reading.

    Spaulding’s enjoying this show immensely,
    AB

    PS See you in 2015. Work on that golf swing in the meantime!

  166. Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    From the dispassionate, objective scholar of Calvinism:

    Submitted on 2013/05/16 at 3:44 am | In reply to mikelmann.

    I realize you’re Darryl’s self-appointed gatekeeper and sergeant at arms and I respect you for that, Erik. But he completely embarrassed himself on his under-informed attack on the “Two Swords” papal bull Unam Sanctam

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15126a.htm

    I was kind enough not to rub his nose in it on his own blog. I’m not about winning, about scorching your earth. But it’s just us chickens here at your blog.

    What’s “hard” is smacking you arrogant know-nothings in the head for your arrogance without destroying our line of communication. That’s what I meant about winning a fight with your wife. You can always win the argument–or she can–if you sink low enough. But in the end, the marriage–the communication–will be destroyed.

    If you fight with love, you hit only hard enough to be heard, not to win. And that’s what you’ve been getting from me, my brother.

    I haven’t even begun to express myself at Darryl’s blog. At this point, the debate hasn’t even started, let alone discussion as brothers in Christ or whatever you call it. We’re still defining terms, and frankly, you’re throwing a monkey wrench into every click of the gears, as if disrupting the discussion at every turn is the only way that you can be a part of it.

    I don’t think that’s so. Give it some air. Re-evaluate the “cliches” you say you understand and rejected. Do it all fresh.

    If I’d come to the OldLife blog just to win a debate, frankly I already did, and more frankly, Darryl loses every time he attacks Catholic theology, because he clearly doesn’t understand it. The Catholics like Bryan Cross stop by just to give him the mildest of slaps upside the head for his theological amateurism. Catholic theology may be wrong, but it’s not easy pickings like the Baylys. You gotta bring your A game, your A+ game.

    And if I really had an agenda, Erik, I’d have already scorched your earth, wham, bam, thank you ma’am. It’s not about that, never was. I don’t think of you as the Baylys. Hell, I don’t even think of the Baylys as you think of the Baylys.

    Frankly, you’re losing to them and the fundie/evangelicals. And to the Roman Catholic Church too. If we’re playing Rock Paper Scissors, you’re playing lukewarm water, and that isn’t even in the game.

    I know you have more passion than this. Live out your life as a moral eunuch who never did no wrong, but did no right either, then collect your ticket to heaven? Ever read Dante?

  167. sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Look at the inner curmudgeon come out.

    “I’m not credentialed.”

    “But some historians like my work. A lot”.

    “As for my study of the Warrior Children, it’s about complete.” “…….it will result more in my explaining Calvinists sympathetically”

    You can’t imagine my excitement. It’s had all the effort, insight and depth of understanding as an Oxford Capacity Analysis administered by L. Ron Hubbard himself. You are a true Thetan. Watch out for those SP’s as you go forward.

  168. Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    I speculated a long time ago that he was a Scientologist. It fits. There’s a Lancaster Dodd aesthetic there.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBYblvESIag

  169. Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    On Tom’s departure from “Ordinary Times”:

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2012/12/05/parting-ways

    “Tom was a gifted writer, and could, when he’s not trying to tweak others’ sensibilities, could write some cogent and well-executed prose. I’ll miss that Tom.

    Then, there was the other Tom. The one who delighted in stirring up shit, and in probing the tender spots of his ideological adversaries. The one who would never acknowledge when he caused offense, and never, ever back down or apologize. The one who would write with purposeful obtuseness, and then complain that no one understood him. That guy I won’t miss so much.”

  170. Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Josh asks; Doug, “When you use the term salvation, do you equate this with the entire ordo salutis? Again I am just trying to understand how you define terms.”

    Me: Yes, they are all saving benefits of being united to Christ.

    Josh asks: “As far as your response to my question (and I believe this has to do with the limitations of this media) I gave you the context of the question. The OPC report on Justification. It’s not my statement, but a statement from the report. You changed the context of the statement and did not answer the question in any meaningful way. Do you agree with the statement in the context in which it was written?”

    Me: Josh, I don’t understand what context you’re talking about. The question you asked is too ambiguous to answer simplistically yes or no. Like I said, definitive sanctification precedes justification. Both are necessary! You can’t have one without the other. Just like one cannot be justified if he lacks faith and repentance.

    So it’s kind of a silly question, no? If you think it’s a good question, please explain why this logical order has any relevance in your life one way or the other.

  171. Josh Taylor
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Doug,

    I am asking if you agree with a statement from the report on Justification that the OPC produced. There are few pages of context in which the statement is made. I assume you are familiar with the report. IF not, then I understand your confusion. Do you agree with the report or not? Specifically when it states on page 29 “it is untrue to say that one must be sanctified in order to be justified. Justification and sanctification bear a relationship to each other that cannot be reversed.”

  172. Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Josh, I fully agree that it’s God who does a work in our heart, and gives us the gift of faith, which then causes true repentance, and unites us with Christ. Once united with Christ we enjoy both justification and sanctification along with adoption and one day glorification.

    Can you tell me how that understanding muddles the good news?

  173. Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Josh, my computer won’t pull up the report, so yes I am a bit confused.

  174. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    AB
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink
    Pretty rich, Tom. You’ve got Machen figured out? My guess is the next time I open up oldlife dot org (ie 2014), you and the crew will be enjoying a beer together here, acting like you were always an oldlifer.

    Really, man. This is entertaining reading.

    Spaulding’s enjoying this show immensely,
    AB

    PS See you in 2015. Work on that golf swing in the meantime!

    Not so much JG Machen—I was speaking of the Warrior Children, Mr. Hello I Must Be Going. Hope you enjoyed the Good Samaritan discussion, or at least the end of it I held up. It presents a real problem for the theology here.

    As for the rest, now I’m a Scientologist, it seems. Erik’s trolling the internet trying to get the goods on me and wonders why nobody trusts him with their personal details. Because it’s all grist for the mill, Erik. The Warrior Children attack. That’s what they do. You hit on an unintentional irony with the Scientology riff, sean, but ’tis I who am the SP, ’tis I who am “Fair Game.” ;-P

  175. Josh Taylor
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Doug,

    I don’t know yet whether I disagree with what you are saying. Thats why I have been asking you questions. I just don’t want to be talking past each other because we might use different words and mean the same thing.

    If you get a chance to read the report please answer my question, but I understand if you have computer issues and cannot read what I am referencing.

  176. Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    Nothing you’ve told me personally (through e-mail) has made it on here or will make it on here. Blog comments and google searches are fair game.

  177. Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    “Not so much JG Machen—I was speaking of the Warrior Children, Mr. Hello I Must Be Going. Hope you enjoyed the Good Samaritan discussion, or at least the end of it I held up. It presents a real problem for the theology here.”

    Ordinary Times Commenter: “The one who would write with purposeful obtuseness, and then complain that no one understood him. That guy I won’t miss so much.”

    Exactly. Plus the arms the length of a gorilla from all of the patting himself on the back.

  178. Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Guys,

    On Sunday ask your Sessions and Consistories to consider shuttering your churches. If you’re in a lease, break it. If you own your building, call a realtor. Tom finally realized we have no answer for the Parables of the Sheep & The Goats and The Good Samaritan. He’s outed us. The jig is up. We can all return to evangelicalism or Catholicism. It’s over.

  179. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    Nothing you’ve told me personally (through e-mail) has made it on here or will make it on here. Blog comments and google searches are fair game.
    ____________________
    That’s what I said–Fair Game. It’s a famous Scientology tactic, and here you are using it. Hope you’re proud of yourself, warrior child.

    As for my lynching at the Ordinary Times blog, it was the mob, left-wingers in that case. Couldn’t argue honestly, so they got me anyway on a trumped up charge. The story is here.

    http://sonnybunch.com/thoughtcrimes-ca-2012/

    You’re not pulling anything new, Erik. I predicted all this, it’s as old as history. The only question was the Judas Kiss. You win the honor. Well done, Erik, my friend, well done.

  180. sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Josh, I assume you already know, but Doug is dodging. He doesn’t want to answer you directly because he finds the OPC report inadequate for his understanding of salvation as constituted per mystical union. He wants the renovative to be at least simultaneous with the forensic and declarative. He won’t abide the relation you posit from the report of justification to sanctification.

  181. sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Erik, don’t sweat it. Narcissism only ever ends one way.

  182. Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    The offer for sincere engagement is always open if you’ll come clean about what you believe. Until then all you invite is ridicule when you make obvious logical errors. I can go either way.

  183. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    The offer for sincere engagement is always open if you’ll come clean about what you believe. Until then all you invite is ridicule when you make obvious logical errors. I can go either way.

    No you can’t. In the end, you attack. It’s how the warrior children bowl.

  184. Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    So what if I attack. If your beliefs stand up, they stand up. We give you entire Confessions to attack. After your several months here you have not said one thing that causes me to doubt what I believe – not one.

    When the Callers present their case there is potential for me to doubt my faith. When my sincere Atheist friend presents his case there is potential for me to doubt my faith. That’s why these are interesting discussions (at least when you can find a Caller to engage).

    When you stand for nothing that you are willing to expose no one takes you seriously. Why? Because for me to give up A there has to be a compelling B to take it’s place. If not, why bother changing? You’re not willing to risk ridicule so you convince no one of anything. It’s just a waste of everyone’s time. It’s like playing poker with Monopoly money. Man up and stand for something coherent or go away.

  185. Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Sean, I think TVD would sound like Herb Sewell.

  186. Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Tom, and here I thought you already had Calvinism figured out. That was your original pitch at Oldlife. You know, Beza uber alles.

  187. Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Erik, great find. Then there was this:

    I was of mixed minds about Tom. On occasion, I found him amusing and insightful, but generally I found him purposely obtuse, as if he were writing in a code only he could understand, one open to various interpretations, none of which would ever be quite right. At which point, Tom would get pissed because you misinterpreted him.

  188. Posted August 7, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Erik, oh you did see it.

  189. Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Tom, don’t take it so hard. Ordinary Times archived all your other posts. You sure do have thin skin.

  190. sean
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Can’t believe I missed that. Well done Darryl.

  191. Posted August 7, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Sean, you may be right, regarding feeling rather dubious of the necessity of putting justification and sanctification in order. I could go either way, but I don’t see how it effects me one way or the other.

    What difference does it make, as long as I know I’m justified and sanctified in Christ. I fully embrace the doctrine of justification which is once for all, and I see that it’s not the same as sanctification, which is on going.

    Plus Sean, that report doesn’t mention definitive sanctification which precedes both justification and sanctification. So I guess I don’t see the necessity of putting them in order.

    Maybe you can show me how this matters one way or the other, since I’m ambivalent, but I have an open heart.

  192. Posted August 8, 2013 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Sean and Josh, let me express my concern, As long as I hold to the exact doctrine of justification and sanctification, why must I put them in order? Be that as it may, I’ve noticed whenever people speak of sanctification being essential, the men at Old Life chafe with indignation. Yet even the OPC report say that sanctification cannot be separated from justification. If you cannot separate how can it not be essential?

    I almost feel like you are attacking me, for not answering a very technical question that I’m not sure about, that is much to do about nothing. If justification and sanctification are simultaneous; or not, what difference does it make in your life before men and Christ? Isn’t the real issue that we all agree on the doctrine? And that faith is the alone instrument that places us in Christ? Why fight over a esoteric order that is not taught clearly in Scripture? Isn’t this just a big waste of time?

    Now if I am wrong, or just blind which is a real possibility, then please explain what this is a big deal. And why do so many men here at Old Life get upset when sanctification gets emphasized? Please help me out with the significance and relevance of placing the saving works of Christ in order. In your own words please.

    Thanks in advance!

  193. Josh Taylor
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Doug,

    I would suggest that you read the OPC report first and if you are a member of a OPC church then you should talk to your Elders about it. This medium isn’t good for very thoughtful theological discussion.

  194. AB
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Tom, you are mistaken in thinking my lack of posting means I went anywhere. As Erik says, I’ll fart in your general direction by sending you more liberal protestantism, that’s how I’ve classified you. Do you like that better than scientology?

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